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KLEM News AM Update April 27, 2011

Less than a year ago Kevin Richards ran an idea by Mark Strub that has now become Bike Central on Central Avenue. Richards is the owner, who also owns the adjoining business- DeJager Plumbing. Strub manages the daily operations. He says that they are looking to fill a void in Le Mars.

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Strub says the 9 mile trail around Le Mars gives people an exercise alternative that's easily accessible and easy on the body. Since the doors opened a week ago, he's seeing adults who haven't ridden in a long time dusting off the handlebars.

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In addition to repairing almost any and all bikes, Bike Central offers replacement parts and bike accessories. If there's something you need that's not in stock, they can get most things to the store by the next day. They also have biking apparel like helmets, shorts, shirts and shoes. Oh, and did I mention bikes? New bikes are arriving daily and will be on display on the newly remodeled showroom floor. The lines that they carry are the Italian based Bianchi and American made Jamis. Between the two lines Bike Central will have bikes for kids, mountain bikers, racers, road riders and even "BMXers." There are other brands available, and Strub says selection may change as they figure out the needs of the Le Mars customers.

Are Kevin Richards and Mark Strub enjoying the bike business so far? According to Mark, most definitely.

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Bike Central at 200 Central Avenue NE is open 9am to 6pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to 4 pm Saturdays or by appointment. Call 712-540-7076. (News report by Angela Drake of KLEM)

LARCHWOOD, Iowa (AP) All the rain is delaying the opening of the Grand Falls Casino Resort near Larchwood in northwest Iowa.

The $120 million project was scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. Wet conditions at the construction site have delayed the opening until June 9.

The resort's general manager, Sharon Haselhoff, says the inside is ready, but not the outside.

The casino is being built just across the South Dakota border from Sioux Falls and will employ more than 700 people.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) A federal judge in Sioux City has continued a stay in lawsuits filed by six women who claim their constitutional rights were violated when they were strip-searched at the Woodbury County jail.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett ordered the delay because the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing a similar case in New Jersey. A stay was originally ordered lawyers in the New Jersey case sought a review by the Supreme Court.

In his April 21 ruling Judge Bennett wrote the U.S. Supreme Court ruling could affect the outcome of the Iowa cases and eliminate the need for a trial.

The New Jersey case may not be decided until the spring of 2012.

The attorney for the women in the Iowa case, David O'Brien, says they are disappointed in Bennett's ruling.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


(DES MOINES) The Iowa House has endorsed a bill that may eventually allow MidAmerican Energy to collect fees from its customers to cover about half the costs of building a new nuclear power facility in Iowa. Representative Chuck Soderberg, a Republican from Le Mars, is a vice president for Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative.

"This is a huge step for Iowa and it's a huge step if we believe that we want to continue to grow this state," Soderberg said to open Tuesday's House debate of the measure. The bill passed on a 68 to 30 vote, after over five hours of debate. Critics like Representative Mary Mascher (MASH-er) of Iowa City suggested nuclear energy is "damaging to the environment" and a "threat" to humans.

"For us to act on this today is really and truly not in the best interest of the state," Mascher said. "It's not in the best interest of Iowans." Soderberg had a counter argument.

"The easy thing to do today would be do nothing, not adopt energy policy, but I don't think we’re here to do the easy thing. We're here to do the right thing," Soderberg said. "...If Iowans, if businesses are expected to stay here, we need to provide them electric power." Others, like Representative Janet Petersen of Des Moines, noted the irony that House debate of the legislation was being held on the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine.

"Representative Soderberg is telling us the easy thing to do is to do nothing," Petersen said. "I'm saying the important thing to do is to not rush." Iowa already has one nuclear power plant, about nine miles northwest of Cedar Rapids. If this bill becomes law and MidAmerican is able to secure additional private investment in a new, underground nuclear power facility, it would require federal approval as well. MidAmerican executives say 2020 would likely be the earliest such a plant would start operating. Critics say by raising electric rates, MidAmerican would be guaranteed profits while customers could see their electric bills go up as much as 10 percent. Representative Bruce Hunter, a Democrat from Des Moines, says his constituents think nuclear energy is too "risky.

"Especially in light of what happened in Japan recently," Hunter said. Soderberg dismissed those concerns, saying the Japanese plant was 40 years old and the facility MidAmerican envisions would use technology similar to nuclear-powered submarines.

"This is an opportunity, also, to create hundreds of new jobs in the state Iowa," Soderberg said. "It's going to create over 500 new construction jobs. Operating a facility, anywhere from 300-800 new jobs in the state of Iowa, good-paying jobs, average wage $75,000." The bill now goes to the Senate, where its future is uncertain. (News report by Radio Iowa)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An attorney for a Minnesota teenager accused of killing two convenience store clerks in northern Iowa has asked the Iowa Supreme Court to combine two murder trials.

Seventeen-year-old Michael Swanson, of St. Louis Park, Minn., is charged as an adult with murder and robbery in Kossuth and Humboldt counties. He's accused of killing a clerk in Algona on Nov. 15, then driving to Humboldt and killing another clerk. A judge ruled last month that state laws don't allow him to merge the trials because the crimes happened in different counties and different judicial districts.

The Des Moines Register says Tuesday that defense attorney Charles Kenville argued in his appeal to the Supreme Court that the judge acknowledged that few cases address the issue, and a ruling would clarify the matter.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Terry Branstad is soliciting questions via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for a weekly ``Ask the Gov'' video project.

Several questions will be chosen from the submissions each week and answers shared through those same mediums every Friday.

Branstad says the project is part of following through on a promise of openness he made while campaigning. The fifth-term Republican governor has also held weekly press conferences and posted his schedule well in advance since taking office in January, something observers say was lacking in previous administrations.

Chris Mudge, executive director of the Iowa Newspaper Association, says such efforts at openness from Branstad are laudable. But others, like Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky, say the ``Ask the Gov'' project in particular is little more than a public relations gimmick.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Republican Ron Paul says he's forming a campaign exploratory committee as he moves closer to again seeking the Republican nomination for president.

The Texas congressman made his announcement Tuesday in Iowa, which will hold the nation's first presidential caucuses in February.

Paul told a small audience at an airport hotel in Des Moines that he was eager to promote his views about the need to reduce the size and scope of government.

Paul ran for president in 2008 and finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses.

He is popular among tea party supporters, but if he seeks the GOP nomination he likely will have to compete for those voters with other candidates.

Paul has visited Iowa seven times since the 2008 election, as recently as this month.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa House is moving toward approval of a measure aimed at spurring the development of the state's second nuclear power plant.

The measure being debated in the House Tuesday would clear the way for MidAmerican Energy, the state's largest utility, to finance its proposal to develop one or more small modular nuclear reactors that could be on line as early as 2020. The House was rejecting a series of efforts by critics to modify the measure.

It would allow MidAmerican to begin billing customers in advance for the cost of the project, estimated to be at least $1 billion.

Supports say the state faces a looming energy shortage, and new nuclear plants take years to complete so lawmakers must act. Critics say more study is needed.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Former Iowa football player Cedric Everson is scheduled to be sentenced next month on a charge stemming from a 2007 assault of a female athlete.

The Iowa City-Press Citizen says Tuesday that Everson's sentencing, which has been delayed several times, is now set for June 24 in Johnson County District Court in Iowa City.

Everson went on trial in January on accusations that he and an ex-teammate sexually assaulted the woman in a vacant dormitory room on campus.

The jury found Everson guilty of the least serious charge, misdemeanor nonsexual assault. He faces a maximum of 30 days in jail.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) A teenager who pleaded guilty to assaulting a Dubuque human services worker has been sentenced to 40 years in prison .

The Telegraph Herald in Dubuque says Jesse Shimon was sentenced Tuesday. He pleaded guilty in March to willful injury, burglary and theft charges.

The 17-year-old was originally charged with attempted murder for the assault on an employee at Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque on Jan. 12.

Court records show Shimon transferred from a juvenile detention center in Eldora to a residential facility at Hillcrest on Jan. 10.

Records show he sneaked out of Hillcrest and stole a vehicle from a local car dealer. He also broke into the building where he stole a shotgun and a knife. Shimon then returned to Hillcrest where he attacked the employee.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Submit your news release, photo, confidential news tip or news idea by email klemnews@lemarscomm or by calling 712.546.4121 or 712.546.9672 fax.

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